Tipping Around the World: A Traveler's Guide

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How to Tip Around the World

Martin Kingsley, flickr

It's a common conundrum when traveling: what do you tip? Don't tip enough, and you're an ungrateful guest. Or leave a gratuity, and it's considered an insult. Rather than anxiously wring your hands over the rights and wrongs of gratuities abroad, use our guide to make your life a little easier.

Hotel tips here are pretty standard, starting with $2 per bag for bellmen who do your heavy lifting and $2 for requests from the concierge (though the more labor-intensive or unique, the higher your tip should be). In Paris, make sure to drop your doorman a Euro and leave a couple for your maid every day. It's the same in Rome and London -- though the latter obviously expects pounds. Tip your cab driver 10% of the fare. You can breathe easy when the bill comes at the end of the meal -- more often than not, the service charges are included. But add another five to 10% on top of your bill, just to be safe.

China and Japan
Visitors to China tend to take hotel cars, for which you should tip five to 10%. But in Hong Kong, tipping is a little more lax -- just round up on your fare. Once you get to your hotel, tip your porter $2 to $3 per bag, and your hotel concierge deserves $3 to $5 for the basics (more for the complicated queries.) Make sure you leave a couple of bucks for your maid -- per person, per day -- when you're in Hong Kong. Dining in a restaurant means rounding up the bill in China, though it's suggested you tip more in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing. Restaurants in Hong Kong tend to include service in your tab (tip 10 to 15% if they don't). Meanwhile, tips are not necessary in Japan and might lead to your confused waiter chasing you down the street with your change.

Tipping is pretty basic here. Restaurants require the standard 10 to 15%, but there's no need to tip your cabbie (hotel cars expect a 10 to 15% gratuity). At your hotel, give your bellman $1 or more for each bag they cart up to your room, and if you're asking for assistance from the concierge, make sure you have anywhere from $2 to $20 to thank him or her for helping you out with your request.

Hotel concierges can be an incredible help here, which is why you should be prepared to hand over at least $2 for your request, or up to $20 if you make it a bit outlandish. Porters look for $1 or more per bag, while hotel cars want 10 to 15% for their services. Taxis? Shell out 10% for their services in major cities, and if you're eating out on the town, the tip is included in your bill more often than not. When in doubt, tack on an extra 10 to 15% for good service.

Australia and New Zealand
Spending time down under means tips all around. Eating out means a 10 to 15% addition, unless they include it in your bill -- double check, just to be sure. Grabbing a cab? Add 10% to the fare in Australia, but not in New Zealand – just round up. Hotel porters look for $2 per bag and concierge tipping is roughly the same as everywhere else, asking for at least $2 for services. But if you ask for the moon and the stars, be prepared to shell out up to $50 to have your request met. Take care of housekeeping, too, with a buck or two per person for each day you stay.

How to Tip Around the World

lrargerich, flickr
South America
When you're bouncing around all points south, skip the tip on taxis... unless you're in Brazil or Argentina. There, they look for a 10% add-on for their driving skills. At restaurants, it's a little tricky. You'll want to add 10 to 15% to your bill, unless there's already a service charge. However, double check with your waiter what the charge covers -- it usually won't include the staff's cut. At the hotel, bellhop services should garner $1 to $3 per bag, while concierge requests are usually rewarded with $2 to $10, depending on how labor intensive your query. In Buenos Aires, make sure you leave three to six pesos per person, per day for housekeeping.

Mexico and Central America
Skip the tip if you're eating in Costa Rica or Belize, as they add in a 10% service charge. In Mexico, some places add a service charge, and some places don't. For the restaurants that don't, give 10 to 15%. But if you're in Guatemala, Nicaragua or Panama, drop 10% on your total bill. From there, it's the same straight across the board. Cab drivers don't expect a tip, so just round up. Porters appreciate $1 to $5 per bag, and concierges will want anywhere from $2 to $20.

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